Most of us are looking for ways to stay brain sharp and most of us wishes we had a better memory. Memory loss and cognitive decline is also a battle most people face as they get older. But is this really part of the “normal” aging process? No, not necessarily.
Current research has shown us that what we believed to be age related degenerative changes in the brain could actually be the result of years of chronic inflammation in the brain – which can be avoided and cured!
This means that, at any age, when we worry our memory is getting worse, or routine tasks seem more difficult or confusion occur more often, symptoms could be attributed to inflammation.
Here is how inflammation can affect your brain health:
Special types of cells in the brain (called Microglia) act as the first active immune defense in the brain and they are responsible for removing any foreign particles (such as pathogens and debri) from our brains. They do this by consuming the foreign substance through a short lived inflammatory response. After this they return to their normal resting state and the potential danger to our brains has been removed.
The problem arises, however, when the body has suffered too many assaults (for example, through infection, physical or mental trauma, chronic stress, poor dietary habits, exposure to toxins, and so on), then these microglia cells are not able to downregulate and they remain in ‘attack mode’. The result of this is a chronic, wildfire-like inflammation in the brain. Also, as we get older these microglia cells will more often be in an inflammatory state even in their resting state. This heightened inflammatory state, over time, can eventually damage our brain cells and can affect cognitive functioning and memory.
There is GOOD news – we can do something about this!
Fortunately our brains are resilient, and we can, through simple diet and other lifestyle changes, reduce the inflammation and — even reverse—it.
Research Shows that Through these 3 Steps You can Improve Your Brain Health:
1. Get regular aerobic exercise.
Simply put, exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which helps your brain create new neurons and improve neural connections. A 2013 study by the University of Maryland School of Public Health found that people who increased their heart rate with daily moderate exercise: “improved their memory performance and showed increased brain activity (neural efficiency) when doing memory tasks”. This means regular exercise downregulates the microglia cell activation in the brain and therefore avoids the inflammation.
Therefore try to incorporate just 30 minutes a day of moderate physical exercise—such as walking—for a significant impact on your brain health.
2. Eat for brain health.
Diet also plays an important role for your brain health, and there is an impressive amount of research confirming that essential fatty acids, like omega-3s, are very beneficial. If DHA levels are low (DHA is a form of omega-3) the brain is more likely to undergo degeneration. Omega-3 fatty acids also help scavenge the destructive free radicals that attach to the tissue and damage it.
Since our bodies are unable to produce these fatty acids on their own, we need to make sure that foods rich in omega-3s like fish oils, salmon, shrimp, sardines, eggs, walnuts, and almonds make a regular appearance on our plates. The ratio between omega 6 to omega 3 in the body is very important indeed and should ideally be 1:1. But in our western diets the ratio of omega-6 can be up to 15-17 times that of omega 3 and that can cause a lot of long term damage
I recommend EQ Pure Omega-3 oil, which is from 100 % Arctic whole wild fish off the Norwegian coast with cold-pressed olive oil and vitamin D3 – and added fresh lemon flavour. It is the best quality omega-3 oils I have found AND it comes with a test so you can establish your omega 6 omega 3 levels before you start.
Fruits and vegetables, high in a type of antioxidant called flavonoid, also play a major role in brain health. Foods rich in flavonoids offer a number of neuroprotective properties and can slow the cognitive decline and potentially also many neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Foods rich in flavonoids include tea (matcha, black, green), bananas, colorful berries, onions, apples, citrus, ginkgo biloba, parsley, red wine, and chocolate. Our Yum slushie and Elixir Vitality Juice contains very high levels of freshly juices berries and also Matcha tea. If you perfer a green juice, then try our Blended Green SuperFood Juice, which contains both freshly juiced Wheatgrass, Barley grass, Nettle and Metcha tea. Remember all our juices cost teh same, so you can swop between them without any fuss.
3. Meditate every day.
Meditation supports the nerve cells and is neuro-regenerative. A study conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital found that mindfulness meditation, over the short period of only eight weeks, increased the amount of gray matter in regions of the brain involved in learning and memory, regulation of one’s emotions, and self-awareness.
The good news is that we actually go into a meditative state during the times just before waking up and just before sleeing. So taking time to drift in and out of sleep in the morning and evening is great for your brain health. Try to avoid jumping straight out of bed in the morning but instead spend a few minutes resting, thinking positive calm thoughts, which will strengthen mental calmness.
You can also try a walking meditation, which will combine your sport with relaxation.